Finishing his third season with an overall 19-18 record as the Missouri Tigers’ head coach, Barry Odom received a sizable contract extension on Wednesday.
Two years ago, any mention of Odom getting a contract extension would have been scoffed at. Last year, after the Tigers finished three games better and received a bowl bid, opinions, while mixed, were still more favorable toward hiring a new coach.
This year, Odom’s season record finished one win better than a year ago, and while there were still some clamoring for a new head coach, there were also more voices who believed Missouri should stay the course, at least for a season or two.
For the second year in a row, Odom led his Tigers on an undefeated streak to finish the season. In 2017, the Tigers went on a six-game tear, before losing to Texas in the Texas Bowl. This year, Mizzou finished its regular season with a four game win streak.
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Did finishing the season strong earn Odom a six-year contract extension? While I don’t think it hurt, I also believe a more recent development pushed the Board of Curators’ collective hand at signing Odom to a long-term deal: Wooing former Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant, and landing former Arkansas wide receiver and graduate transfer Jonathan Nance.
While Odom is a disciple of former Tigers head coach Gary Pinkel, many felt Athletic Director Jim Sterk might decide to part ways with Odom at the end of the season, if it didn’t go as planned, and find his own guy to coach at Mizzou.
Ever the fighter, Odom dug in and coached his team to its best season under his watch, to date. The contract is for an annual base salary of $3.05 million per season, and keeps Odom on the Tigers’ sideline through the 2024 season. There’s also a $400,000.00 bonus if Missouri plays in the College Football National Championship – $500,000.00 if the Tigers win it.
I was on the fence for most of the season, to whether Odom should stay or if Missouri should hire a new coach, but in the end, and especially considering recent recruiting developments, I believe Odom proved his worth and earned the extension. Maybe six years is a bit rich, but I think Sterk did the right thing, here.